I actually met Tom twice as well, but the first occurrence really only barely counts. It was at the first WingDing I attended and he was in Vendor "row" standing in his Tailwind he was selling. At that time, I really had no interest in pulling a trailer, but we very briefly talked and he mentioned that other trailer manufactures there really did not like him standing in his trailer because it gets other people climbing into the other trailers causing the other trailer manufacturers to freak out "OH NO, Don't do that!!!!" they would say.... I even ended up seeing someone at one of the other big trailers have someone quickly told "not to climb inside" while I was there. Time passed and I had long forgotten about that when I finally purchased my first trailer (not one of Tom's). It was a literally "disaster waiting to occur", and it almost happened that way when its fatal flaw cut loose. That ended up making me re-discover Tailwind trailers. It was looking through all of the information Tom sent me that sparked that memory at WindDing years earlier. May 2017 was when I really met Tom when I was picking up my new Tailwind XTc.
Rest in Peace, Tom.
We have lost a great engineering mind.....
Tom's daughter Terrie Parsons just sent this e-mail notice about Tom's memorial service. If you plan to dine with the family after the services, please e-mail Terrie at [email protected] or at the telephone number listed below.
Dear Family and Friends,
For those of you that have not yet received the news, Dad passed away on Christmas Eve after an epic battle with cancer.
We plan to hold a Memorial Service for him on Saturday, January 18th at 12:00 pm. The service will be held at Porter Loring Mortuary North location, 2102 North Loop 1604 East, San Antonio, Texas 78232.
For those wishing to join us, we will be gathering after the service at a restaurant in the area. So that we can estimate how many guests we will have, please let me know if you would like to attend that reception.
Please feel free to contact me via this email address or via cell at 281-782-4010 if you have any questions at all.
My life is better for having met Tom and experienced a short time with him in one of his natural environments -- the OST and the roads in hill country. Better in ways that transcend the awesome hauling capability that followed me home from my brief visit with him.
I will be there (though, not riding), with a heart sad from the loss, but glad for the end of suffering. If you measure a person's legacy by the amount of positive impact on the world, and the strength of the family left behind, then I don't have a scale adequate to measure Tom's contribution. RIP, friend.
May God's peace, that goes beyond all understanding, rest on all Tom's friends and family who still walk this earth. Many of us look forward to meeting up with Tom when it is our turn to join him for eternity. I appreciate the knowledge that Tom was so willing to share and thankfully, much of that knowledge is documented across many posts on these forums. Tom will never be forgotten by anyone who had the pleasure of meeting him or like in my case, exchanging emails with him.
Saturday, January 18 was the occasion for Tom’s memorial in San Antonio. The Porter Loring mortuary was full of Tom’s friends from near and far. Tom’s daughter Terrie Parsons had arranged for a dinner following the memorial services, so over one hundred people reconvened at a nearby banquet hall to finish reminiscing about Tom. There were many familiar faces there, and several people told some entertaining, from-the-heart “Tom Tales.”
I personally shared a little tidbit that Tom had been a fixture at the Old Spanish Trail (OST) restaurant in Bandera practically every Sunday since 1973, so had eaten more than 2,250 Sunday breakfasts at the OST, sitting at the long table in the John Wayne room. Tom’s entourage almost always had at least 10 people there visiting and dining with Tom. A little conservative guesstimate showed that Tom’s visits to the OST over the years had yielded gross receipts of over $150,000 to the OST. I opined that the OST had dedicated a room to John Wayne, but that John Wayne had not brought in nearly as much money to the OST as had Tom Finch, so we should talk to them about a Tom Finch room.
The next morning a pretty good group of us, 15 in all, gathered for breakfast at the OST. Roger Werner, who has been building the Tailwind bodies for the last several years and was a great friend to Tom, said that the Tom Finch room was a great idea and that we should make it happen. So be it. We pitched the idea to Roy Dugard, the local Bandera historian who is one of our friends and is also an influential local citizen. Roy said that he was sure he could get the OST to at least have a large picture and plaque set up in the John Wayne room overlooking Tom’s long table.
Tom Finch Jr. is going to try to keep the family Tailwind program in operation. He had ridden Tom’s blue Goldwing and Tailwind to the OST that day as part of the final memorial ceremony. We were all thrilled to hear that Tailwinds will still be produced.
We’ve also discussed on this forum that a large group of us existing Tailwind owners will form a Tailwind Owners group to support each other, and that we will even try to continue the tradition of a TTT in Tom’s honor, and for the camaraderie and friendship that we share.
I’ll post a few pictures of the dinner following the memorial services and of the people in our group at the OST. A few of the pictures are at the banquet room, and some are at the long table in the John Wayne Room of the OST.
We all stayed together at the nearby Hampton Inn. From left, Brian Norwood, Glen Kenney, Rick Straub,
Jerry Wells, Terry Schmitz, and Jeff Head. The waitress who took the picture managed to snap us while
the TV behind us showed a picture of Donald Trump. Very fitting!
Tom Finch Jr's wife, Tom Finch Jr., and the incredible Terrie Parsons, Tom Finch's daughter.
Hilmer Mertz, Tom's longest-time riding friend. Hilmer presently owns Tom's former GL1500. He's 88
in this picture, and just recently stopped riding.
Random picture of part of the banquet room, in which it looks like Rick Straub is reading the riot act to Mark Bettencourt
Keith Griffith (Griffalo), and Charles Fleming
Partial picture of Charles Fleming at the left, with Len and Phyllis Ellis as the focal point. Len sold me
his beloved 2012 Wing when his eyesight began playing tricks on him. He and Phyllis are wonderful people.
From left, Tom Finch Jr., Mark and Betinna Bettencourt, and Charles Fleming
Tall Bill Jordan and Tom Finch Jr. (in the John Wayne room)
From left, Lou Switzer, Louie Graham, and Roger Werner
Marvin (Wild Turkey) and his lovely wife Sheryl. Marvin is trying his "tough guy" look.
My condolences to the family. Tom will live on in our collective memories ..I thank him for all the great guidance, help tips, joy,Tailwind products and the respect he gave. Mr TOM. May you rest in peace. I thank the family for sharing Tom with us...Sincerely.. Mark Olivas